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House prices: Halifax says they’ve grown £28k in a year

Average house prices in the UK have hit another record high, despite an interest rate rise and Britons facing a mounting cost of living crisis.

Monthly house prices grew 1.4 per cent in March – the biggest increase in six months – pushing the average UK house price up to a record high of £282,753.

It means house prices have grown a staggering £43,577 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Halifax House Price index.  

Regionally, the South West of England saw the biggest annual rise – of 14.6 per cent compared to March 2021. It means the region, which saw a boom in property sales during the pandemic as people flooded out of cities during lockdown, has overtaken Wales as the UK’s strongest performer in terms of annual price house inflation.

London, meanwhile, continued its recent upward trend, with prices now up by 5.9 per cent year-on-year, with an average price of £534,977.

Prices in the capital had risen at a slower rate since the first Covid lockdown as people looked to invest in countryside properties due to more flexible working and work from home.

March’s property price rise comes despite the Bank of England raising interest rates from 0.5 per cent to 0.75 per cent last month.

The Bank raised interest rates for the first time in December, from 0.1 per cent to 0.25 per cent and increased them further, to 0.5 per cent in February. 

However, despite average property prices rising in March, experts believe the rate of growth will slow this year, as the cost of living crisis bites.

Average Britons face an extra £800-a-year in living costs from this month, with a rise in gas bills and National Insurance, along with an increase in council tax and inflation at more than 6 per cent. 

Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax, said: ‘The story behind such strong house price inflation remains unchanged: limited supply and strong demand, despite the prospect of increasing pressure on households’ finances. 

‘Although there is some recent evidence of more homes coming onto the market, the fundamental issue remains that too many buyers are chasing too few properties.  

Average house prices in the UK have hit another record high, despite an interest rate rise and Britons facing a mounting cost of living crisis

Average house prices in the UK have hit another record high, despite an interest rate rise and Britons facing a mounting cost of living crisis

Regionally, the South West of England saw the biggest annual rise - of 14.6 per cent compared to March 2021. It means the region, which saw a boom in property sales during the pandemic as people flooded out of cities during lockdown, has overtaken Wales as the UK’s strongest performer in terms of annual price house inflation. London, meanwhile, continued its recent upward trend, with prices now up by 5.9 per cent year-on-year, with an average price of £534,977

Regionally, the South West of England saw the biggest annual rise – of 14.6 per cent compared to March 2021. It means the region, which saw a boom in property sales during the pandemic as people flooded out of cities during lockdown, has overtaken Wales as the UK’s strongest performer in terms of annual price house inflation. London, meanwhile, continued its recent upward trend, with prices now up by 5.9 per cent year-on-year, with an average price of £534,977

Regionally, the South West of England saw the biggest annual rise - of 14.6 per cent compared to March 2021. It means the region, which saw a boom in property sales during the pandemic as people flooded out of cities during lockdown, has overtaken Wales as the UK’s strongest performer in terms of annual price house inflation. Pictured: Library image of for sale signs

Regionally, the South West of England saw the biggest annual rise – of 14.6 per cent compared to March 2021. It means the region, which saw a boom in property sales during the pandemic as people flooded out of cities during lockdown, has overtaken Wales as the UK’s strongest performer in terms of annual price house inflation. Pictured: Library image of for sale signs

Despite average property prices rising in March, experts believe the rate of growth will slow this year, as the cost of living crisis bites. Average Britons face an extra £800-a-year in living costs from this month, with a rise in gas bills and National Insurance, along with an increase in council tax and inflation at more than 6 per cent.

Despite average property prices rising in March, experts believe the rate of growth will slow this year, as the cost of living crisis bites. Average Britons face an extra £800-a-year in living costs from this month, with a rise in gas bills and National Insurance, along with an increase in council tax and inflation at more than 6 per cent. 

‘The effect on house prices makes it increasingly difficult for first-time buyers looking to make their first step onto the ladder, but also challenges homemovers who face ever bigger leaps to move up the rungs to a larger property.

‘However, in the long-term we know the performance of the housing market remains inextricably linked to the health of the wider economy. 

‘There is no doubt that households face a significant squeeze on real earnings. Buyers are therefore dealing with the prospect of higher interest rates and a higher cost of living.

‘With affordability metrics already extremely stretched, these factors should lead to a slowdown in house price inflation over the next year.’

It comes as the Consumer price inflation hit a 30-year high of 6.2 per cent in February and the Government’s budget watchdog two weeks ago forecast it would go close to 9 per cent in late 2022, contributing to the biggest fall in living standards since at least the 1950s. 

Many buyers are still demanding more indoor and outdoor space, and the annual jump in flat prices is lower than for detached homes. 

Prices for flats have increased by 10.6 per cent, or £15,404, over the last two years, while the average price of a detached property has leapt by 21.3 per cent, or £77,717, over the same period, Halifax said.

Regional shifts

South West has overtaken Wales as the UK’s strongest performer in terms of annual price house inflation, now up to 14.6 per cent, its highest rate of annual increase since September 2004. 

The average house price for properties in the South West is now £298,162, representing a record for the region.

While this is the first time since January 2021 that Wales has not recorded the UK’s highest annual growth, house price inflation remains strong, at 14.1 per cent.

The average house price is £211,942 which is yet another all-time high for the country.

Monthly house prices grew 1.4 per cent in March - the biggest increase in six months - pushing the average UK house price up to a record high of £282,753

Monthly house prices grew 1.4 per cent in March – the biggest increase in six months – pushing the average UK house price up to a record high of £282,753

Variations: Property prices in the South West have surged by 14.6% in the past year

Variations: Property prices in the South West have surged by 14.6% in the past year

Property prices in Northern Ireland also continue to be on the rise, with annual growth now at 13 per cent, and an average price of £177,265.

Though house prices also edged up once more in Scotland – reaching a new record of £194,621 – the rate of annual growth continues to slow somewhat, falling to 8.2 per cent from 9.3 per cent last month.

Elsewhere, the South East also recorded a big jump, with house price growth at 11.6 per cent and an average price of £385,790. 

Prices in the region have now risen by £40,177 over the last year, the first time any English region outside of London has ever posted a £40,000-plus rise over just 12 months.

London continued its recent upward trend, with prices now up by 5.9 per cent year-on-year, with an average price of £534,977.

Supply and demand is pushing up prices

There is growing debate among experts about how the coming year will pan out for the property market. 

Some think low listings and strong buyer demand will continue to push up prices, while others think the pace of property price growth could slow amid the soaring cost of living. 

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: ‘These numbers are very strong but mostly reflect activity of the past few months.

‘Since then we’ve noticed, on the ground, how rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs in particular, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, have taken their toll.

‘There is still plenty of market resilience and demand for correctly-priced houses and flats but increasingly stretched affordability is inevitably putting a break on price growth and transaction numbers.’

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: ‘There has been wide speculation that higher fixed costs such as the hike in national insurance contributions and increase in general cost of living will impact affordability calculations when it comes to getting a mortgage. 

‘If costs are going up, it stands to reason that this will impact borrowers as there is less money available to service the mortgage. 

‘But for now, borrowers are taking advantage of low mortgage rates with some lenders, such as Halifax and Scottish Widows, increasing loan-to-income multiples from 4.49 to 4.75 per cent for higher earners.’ 

Gareth Lewis, commercial director of property lender MT Finance, said: ‘Yet again the gap between supply and demand is pushing up prices. 

‘With the cost of living also rising, this is creating more issues in property chains with buyers having to find more money to purchase a property. 

‘Those who are trying to move up the ladder are finding it harder still as the trading gap grows wider; while their home has gone up in value, so has the one they are trying to buy so it will cost considerably more.

‘First-time buyers are being squeezed left, right and centre, needing more money for a bigger deposit while the cost of living is also going up exponentially. It becomes a vicious circle which should inevitably stem the flow of property transactions.

‘Something needs to be done to stimulate the market so that more people are able to buy, with the lack of housing being built in the first place an issue in urgent need of addressing.’ 

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Is DIY on your list this Bank Holiday weekend? Big Brother winner Craig Phillips gives his five tips for getting the job done

Here, Craig give his top tips for DIY jobs this Bank Holiday weekend…

1. Garden furniture

This time of the year when the weather is starting to change, a lot of people are looking to see what they can revamp in their gardens to bring them back to life.

Throughout the winter the garden furniture has been exposed to all sorts, but it’s easy enough to give them a little makeover with some paint.

Craig give his top tips for DIY jobs this Bank Holiday weekend

Craig give his top tips for DIY jobs this Bank Holiday weekend

If anyone has metal or wooden garden furniture, it might have got a bit rusty or flaky, but you can remove this by jet washing it down and then bringing it indoors to let it dry out.

After it’s completely dry, think about adding any wood treatment on the bare wood to make things last that little bit longer.

Then I would consider using a natural mineral paint, that’s good for the environment and quite inexpensive. They have some great colours.

I really like a daffodil yellow to brighten up the garden. If you have metal furniture, it’s pretty much the same process, but you don’t need to add the wood treatment.

2. Loft space 

Converting your loft space doesn’t always have to be to gain an additional habitat room in your house, you may just need that vital extra storage space.

We find that most of us tend to hold on to too much stuff that we don’t often use or may never really use again.

My wife Laura is still holding onto her wedding dress seven years later which takes up so much space when hanging in our cupboards, she’s probably never going to wear it again however she’s got no plans to get rid of it.

Then you’ve got things like the Christmas tree and decorations, holiday suitcases, old family photo albums that you certainly don’t want to part with that need to be stored somewhere safe and dry – and the loft is the perfect place.

Installing raised loft boards means that you can upgrade the insulation in your loft

Installing raised loft boards means that you can upgrade the insulation in your loft

3. Energy improvements

Additional benefits of installing raised loft boards goes beyond just storage space, it allows you to upgrade your loft insulation to the correct regulations which is going to save on your energy consumption, which is better for the environment as well as savings on your utility bills, a win/win situation for us all.

It can also help when selling your home as an EPC certificate will be required, and having the correct level of loft insulation installed improves your EPC rating.

Having your loft space well insulated will benefit the bedrooms below from unwanted draughts and sound coming from the loft area.

We often have water tanks up there that can be noisy, or sounds coming in from outside.

People don’t often know that many loud sounds from outside can work their way into your home from the loft space. Often our house walls are two courses of brick or blocks thick and will stop air bound noise travelling through.

However, our roof structure may only be felt, batten and have tiles on the surface and have a single layer of plaster boards between the loft and the bedrooms.

This is where the additional loft insulation and raised floor boards will help to absorb and dampen sound traveling though into the bedrooms and hallways.

4. Draught proofing

Adding additional draught proofing around doors and windows frames also make your home more energy efficient and comfortable to be in.

These DIY tasks are very quick and easy to complete yourself and don’t cost much money.

The draught excluders can be fitted with minimal tools and are achieved in just hours.  

I always ask people to go home and place their hands around the inside of your door and window frames, letter boxes, cat or dog flaps to see if they can feel any cold draft entering into their house.

If you can feel the cold air coming in, then you’re also allowing hot air that’s generated from your heating system to escape.

Again, this is costly to both your bank balance and the environment.

5. Energy savings

Bleeding your radiators, changing, and upgrading the thermostat on each radiator and applying an insulated reflective foil to the rear of your radiators can all make great savings to your energy consumption.

Again, these kind of DIY tasks are achievable on a budget and can be done by with little experience.

If you’re attempting to change your own radiator thermostats yourself, it’s certainly worth watching online video demonstrations to follow the step-by-step stages to ensure you are doing correctly and safely.

With the ongoing energy crisis and cost of living increase in the UK, now more than ever, people are looking to save energy in every way possible.

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We need to replace our uPVC double-glazing – should we opt for grey?

Our double-glazing needs replacing in our three-bedroom semi-detached home due to its age. 

We’ve had two quotes for uPVC windows, and have been offered the option of grey anthracite.

On both quotes, grey comes out at around 15 per cent more expensive.

However, I’ve noticed in our local area that many people seem to have gone grey in recent years, rather than the typical white.

Going grey: A This is Money reader wants to know about the pros and cons of grey windows

Going grey: A This is Money reader wants to know about the pros and cons of grey windows 

I do wonder if there is any benefit to going grey, other than them not showing up dirt as much?

Would it add extra value to our home when we come to sell? Or is it simply just an aesthetic choice? 

Jane Denton replies: The ‘greyification’ of home interiors, cars and now windows has been hard to miss in the last few years. 

New-build homes with grey windows can be found springing up all over Britain. 

Plus, buyers purchasing homes which need a fair amount of work doing to them are, in ever growing numbers, opting for grey windows. Some people view grey as chic and contemporary. 

Send us your property question 

We’d love to hear from you if you have a property question and want to find out what the experts have to say on the matter. 

Whether you have neighbour woes, are looking to update or move home, or perhaps you can’t decide how to sort out an extension or make a room look bigger, we want to hear from you.

If you are a prospective first-time buyer or already on the housing ladder and have a property quandary, get in touch.

Email editor@thisismoney.co.uk

Please put PROPERTY in the subject line. 

As you suggest, your decision will boil down to personal choice and key factors like price, durability and aesthetics. 

While grey can hide dirt better than white, grey can sometimes look somewhat dull. 

Perhaps it’s also worth considering is grey is just a passing fad and will look dated in a decade or so – though that won’t bother you if you have moved house by that point.

Grey windows still aren’t the norm, meaning they are generally more expensive than white ones. 

The same goes, for example, for black or sage green windows. 

The exact costs involved will vary depending on the supplier used, the material you go for, the size of window required and whether the windows are double or triple glazed. 

Depending what you plump for, you could expect to pay around 10 to 20 per cent more for grey windows than conventional white uPVC ones. 

Timber and aluminum options can be pricier. 

In most circumstances, you wouldn’t need planning permission to change the windows in the manner you suggest. 

Permitted development rights are likely to apply. However, for a listed building, planning permission would be required.

In terms of what it means for property price and whether they are worth the investment in general, I turned to a property expert.  

Alex Harvey, managing director of Alex Harvey Estate Agents, said: I have seen various trends in windows come and go, however the ones that have always stood out from the crowd are the coloured and textured varieties. 

They seem to add an additional dimension to the look and feel of a property. uPVC windows of any colour can be a good low-maintenance choice. 

Grey windows can also be very practical. They do not show the dirt as much and make more of a statement than conventional white windows. 

It is not just the windows themselves you need to consider. 

Estate agency boss Alex Harvey believes grey windows can add value to a property

Estate agency boss Alex Harvey believes grey windows can add value to a property

It’s essential to have the right furniture and handles on them to compliment the age and style of the property. 

An example of this is where people have chosen black wrought iron monkey tail handles, in place of the usual chrome or even white plastic in an older style property.

In newer style homes, anthracite works really well to frame the windows and tie them into the structure of the home, while using chrome handles to help the rest of the framing stand out.

Windows are not just a way to bring natural light into a home these days, they are an opportunity to frame the view from inside the property by having a textured and coloured surround. 

However, there are mistakes that can occur, the main one can being that there can be too much beading in the window itself, which can take away from the view.

We tell clients considering coming to market about the importance of having their windows free of blown panes or any broken elements. 

Buyers notice these things when looking out of windows to understand the views and the surroundings of the property. 

In terms of whether grey windows add value to a property, it all depends on the quality of the windows and doors and the warranty that’s offered. 

We have had clients who have invested more for windows and doors that have had longer warranties for both their peace of mind and as a selling feature for future owners. 

Without doubt, newly installed windows and doors will improve an Energy Performance Certificate rating and will therefore appeal to a wider range of buyers.

It is not easy to assign an uplift value, over what the windows would cost to install. 

However, I can certainly say that for properties that urgently require new windows and doors to be replaced, buyers often have an understanding of the investment required and can be put off from buying a property that requires this level of improvement.

My gut feel would be a circa 10 per cent uplift if the windows and doors have a good balance of the above, based on the initial investment of the installation.

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Five climb the property ladder! Famous Five-style 17th century manor house with secret room, spyhole and fascinating history goes up for sale for £3.2m

A Famous Five-style manor house with a secret 17th Century ‘panic room’ and tiny spy-hole built into the staircase has gone on sale for £3.2million.

The historic seven-bedroom house started life as a coaching inn just after the English Civil War, but has also been visited by royalty and appeared in a children’s novel.

Among its quirkier features is a secret hiding space dating from more than 300 years ago, which can be accessed via a hidden panel under the stairs, leading to a tiny room beneath. 

Owners could monitor who came to their front door through a tiny spy-hole built into the staircase.

The property at Peppard Common, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, has four reception rooms, more than three acres of wraparound gardens and paddocks and is on the edge of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A Famous Five-style manor house at Peppard Common, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, with a secret 17th Century 'panic room' and spyhole in the staircase has gone on sale for £3.2million

A Famous Five-style manor house at Peppard Common, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, with a secret 17th Century ‘panic room’ and spyhole in the staircase has gone on sale for £3.2million

One of two dining rooms in the property, which was visited in the early 1900s by the future King Edward VII and his wife, Queen Alexandra

One of two dining rooms in the property, which was visited in the early 1900s by the future King Edward VII and his wife, Queen Alexandra

During the early 1900s it was visited by the future King Edward VII with his wife, Queen Alexandra, when they were the Prince and Princess of Wales

The then owner was a lady-in-waiting to the royal family.

It also featured in The White Witch, a 1958 novel by acclaimed children’s writer Elizabeth Goudge. 

In it she describes her character looking out of the house’s south and east windows saying ‘she could see far over the fields to the sunrise’.

The new owners will still have stunning views, which take in local countryside, as well as the village cricket pitch.

Inside, the house is filled with original features, including wooden panelling in the entrance hall, beamed ceilings, flint walls and leaded light windows.

The property has an entrance hall, kitchen, two dining rooms, family room, lounge, utility and laundry room and boot room on the ground floor with a cellar below.

Upstairs is an open-plan study area, seven bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Outside, the property has around 3.2 acres of wraparound gardens and paddocks and a triple garage with courtyard parking area and a gravel drive.

The owner said: ‘The house itself is steeped in history as it originally dates back to 1688, just a few decades after the Civil War, and interestingly it has a 17th century panic room hidden behind a section of the original wood panelling.

‘There are stories of visits from royalty – it was owned by a lady-in-waiting in the early years of the 20th century – and it featured heavily in a historical novel called The White Witch, written by Elizabeth Goudge who, many years ago, lived on the other side of the common.

A secret 'panic' room dating back more than 300 years has a tiny spy-hole built into the staircase of the historic property

A secret ‘panic’ room dating back more than 300 years has a tiny spy-hole built into the staircase of the historic property

The property has four reception rooms, more than three acres of wraparound gardens and paddocks and is on the edge of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The property has four reception rooms, more than three acres of wraparound gardens and paddocks and is on the edge of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

‘However, for us it was simply a lovely family home, very spacious and bright, and hugely characterful. 

‘My parents made a number of improvements to it over the years, but there’s definitely lots of scope for the new owners to come in and put their own stamp on it.’

Robert Cable, from Fine & Country, who is handling the sale, said the property belonged to a family of five who had bought it 50 years ago.

He said: ‘They have loved living here and raising their family in this house, it is filled with happy memories, but it’s time for them to move on and pass it to new custodians who will appreciate it as much as they have.

‘It would be perfect for a family that wanted their children to grow up in idyllic rural surroundings.

‘Outside there is so much beautiful space to enjoy, or even keep a pony; inside there is so much space and so many nooks and crannies for children to hide, along with the secret room – it’s like something from the Famous Five novels.’

Inside, the house is filled with original features, including wooden panelling in the entrance hall, beamed ceilings, flint walls and leaded light windows

Inside, the house is filled with original features, including wooden panelling in the entrance hall, beamed ceilings, flint walls and leaded light windows

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